Wednesday, September 24, 2014

Why You Should Hope Greg Orman Wins

Gerard N. Magliocca

The most interesting Senate race this year is in Kansas, where incumbent Pat Roberts (R) is facing a strong challenge from Greg Orman, an independent candidate.  I have no particular opinion about Senator Roberts (though given that he's been there for eighteen years, perhaps that explains why he is in trouble) or Mr. Orman, who is a businessman and may be a stealth Democrat.

What intrigues me is the once-in-a-lifetime possibility for reform if Orman wins and if the Senate ends up with 50 Republicans and 49 Democrats.  In that not unrealistic scenario, Orman would hold the balance since his decision to caucus with Democrats would enable Vice-President Biden to cast his tie-breaking vote.  More important than which side he joins is the price that he demands.  Surely Orman could get sugarplums for Kansas, a cushy office, and an important committee assignment.  If he takes a broader view, though, then he could demand changes to the practices of the Senate that are within the discretion of the majority (secret holds on nominees, filibuster practice, the right of the minority to amend legislation, and so on).  This can never happen, though, if Senator Roberts wins.  


Sounds like a short-lived political drama on some years back.

(Mister Sterling)

I should hope Orman wins, because you're eager to see a Vice President actually use his tie breaking power?

" If he takes a broader view"

If he gets elected, you will suddenly find he's just another Democrat. The Democratic party would not be so eager to see him win, that they'd subvert the law in order to remove their own candidate from the ballot after the deadline, if they didn't know his true allegiance.

Personally, I hope Roberts wins, not because I particularly like him, but because I don't want judicially subverting election laws to be successful.


" ... but because I don't want judicially subverting election laws to be successful."

crams in a lot of his usual crapola without identifying his claimed "judicially subverting election laws." A process under the laws of Kansas wasinvolved that the Democratic Senate candidate followed. The Republican Kansas Secretary of State challenged. The Kansas judicial system was brought in to address the legal requirements and made a decision that Brett disagrees with. Perhaps Brett with his engineering skills could explain how the Kansas judiciary was "subverting" Kansas' election laws providing for a candidate to have his/her name withdrawn from ballots.

And while Brett personally and particularly doesn't like Roberts, surely it is his hatred of Pres. Obama that stirs his juices.

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BTW, I appreciate the chance for change, and the realization that the Constitution provides for a majority of the Senate to change their rules. As they did (correctly) regarding the filibuster for executive appointments.

Since we are fantasizing here, doesn't need to be any one swing vote here to do things of that nature. Also, some do think if Republicans regain control of the Senate that they will do away with the filibuster anyway.

Also, if it was 50-50, I recall back in 2001 (before Jeffords/RIP switched) there was some negotiation among the parties to settle how power was split. Another big thing here might be the race in Kentucky. If McConnell loses, there might be more opening for change.

Two observations. First, I doubt that Orman by himself would be able to extract that many concessions, particularly since there is at least one other senator, Angus King, who is similarly situated. I do agree that there is a possibility in the circumstances you describe that a small group of centrists (Collins, Murkowski, Manchin come to mind) could try to demand certain changes, such as that each side pick a less divisive leader.

Second, the idea that Orman would demand changes to the filibuster seems odd. As the price of joining a razor thin majority, he is going to demand that they make it easier for a razor thin majority to conduct business? Is he going to force them to accept large campaign contributions too?

Orman is the modern Obama-style Democrat candidate - claiming he has no ideology and even repudiating the party label.

Make no mistake, though, Orman is a Democrat. He made public his party affiliation awhile back, but correctly concluded he could not win statewide office in Kansas if he ran under the now discredited "conservative Democrat" brand.

The Democrats think they pulled a fast one by having the open Democrat candidate withdraw to allow the stealth Democrat to run unopposed on the left.

Like the Obama campaigns, the Orman campaign is one long exercise in defrauding the electorate. If the voters fall for it, Orman will caucus with the Democrats like the other so called "independents."

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Since a few members of the caucus was opposed to the filibuster change even though it made it easier to conduct business, it is not totally strange to think a few (especially a few on the margins who think leaving it in will give them more power) will do so if their caucus shrinks. Thus, his support might be important since the Ds might find majority control useful too.

As to one senator in real life not having such power, that is reasonable, though the situation of a nearly divided Senate provides more of a chance for some small pool to have more power. A 50-50 split is not the only way this might happen.

Shag, the election law that was judicially subverted, is the one that allowed a candidate to be removed after the deadline for specific cause. It was deliberately amended to require that cause: Incapacity to serve. Not whim, not a reluctance to actually serve, not anything but incapacity.

Taylor has not provided any reason at all why he would be incapable of serving. He could not even bring himself to SAY he was incapable of serving, perhaps because he feared some sort of legal liability for lying on an official document.

But his remaining on the ballot, even though that was legally required under the circumstances, would have been disadvantageous to the Democratic party, because he was going to lose. So the Kansas judiciary let him get off the ballot without complying with the law. He wasn't even required to lie about it, just imply that he was somehow incapable.

Like the Torricelli case, the law was inconvenient to Democrats, so the law could not survive. That's all that happened here, and it is disgusting to anyone who values the rule of law.

Which doesn't include you, I know.


Brett might provide a link to the Kansas statute in place when the Democrat Senate candidate pulled out. Did he comply with that statute? This is not a morality law but an example of positive law, that may or may not have been politically inspired. Just how did the Kansas court judicially subvert this statute? Unintended political consequences generally do not govern determining whether or not a statute has been complied with or violated. Brett doesn't like the results that may - or may not - flow politically. But then consider how long Plessy v. Ferguson dominated before the 1954 Brown v. Bd. of Educ. decision. Perhaps Brett in his heart of hearts believes that Brown was a judiciously subverted decision.

"Did he comply with that statute?"

No, he did not. The law required him to file a letter with the Secretary of State's office declaring that he was incapable of fulfilling the duties of the office. Instead, he merely filed a letter asserting that he was withdrawing "pursuant to the law".

Well, that's fine, except for the part where he didn't actually comply with the law by making that declaration it required. Perhaps, as I say, because it was false, and he didn't want to perjure himself on an official document. Or maybe because he just blew off the fact that it only permitted him to withdraw for cause, not on a whim. I don't know, and I don't care.

But the simple fact, which the court dismissed, is that the law required him to make that declaration, and he didn't.

To underscore the duplicity of the court, the law also requires the Democratic party to replace a candidate who avails himself of this out, and the court is letting them refrain from doing so.

Brett swallows hook, line and sinker the positions of the Kansas Republican Sec'y. of State, who lost the first case and doesn't appear to have much of a chance with his proposed next step. Brett should dmint that what angers him is the anger, hatred he has for Pres. Obama.

Note that Brett did not take the bait on Brown v. Bd. of Educ.

By the way, we don't know how all this will turn out politically, assuming Orman beats Roberts. But Brett neets to vent his anger, hatred.

What I feel, Shag, is not hate, but disgust, for judges who take their duty to enforce the law so lightly that they'll perpetrate this sort of sophistry.

The law permitted withdrawal for cause. Taylor didn't meet the criteria, and didn't bother to even lie about it. And the court let him withdraw anyway.

The likely outcome of this is that the law will be amended to make the requirement for actual incapacity even clearer, and then we will see, the next time Democrats want to switch candidates after the deadline, if there is any level of clarity that can stand in the way of a court determined to permit what Democrats find convenient.

Brett seems to have no problem with 5-4 decisions of the Supreme Court where the majority consists of Justices nominated by Republican presidents. The Justices are appointed for life. Contrast this with "Methods of Judicial Selection: Kansas" at:

While the majority of the Kansas judges in this case were appointed by Democrats, following such appointments by a year each has to stand for election on a yes no basis. I'm not quite sure, but I think the Kansas decision was unanimous, not a split decision.

By the way, from the git-go Kansas has been a strongly Republican state. There was an interruption in the Governorship with Democrat Kathleen Sebelius serving 2003-9. For the most part, Kansas politics has been dominated by Republicans, including its legislature, controlled by Republicans.

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